AKRON, Ohio — Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett has announced that the eight police officers who fatally shot Jayland Walker on June 27 have been returned to active duty.
Each of the officers had been placed on paid administrative leave following the shooting and had remained in that status for over three months.
Mylett says the officers have been reassigned to "administrative duty." They will not be in the community on patrol, but will provide internal support in non-uniform roles until the investigation is complete.
"We recognize that this decision will cause concern for the Walker family and the community, and we are sensitive to those concerns," Mylett stated in the release announcing the decision.
Amid those concerns, Mylett says the department has dealt with challenges of short staffing over the past several months. The shortages have resulted in fewer officers responding to calls for service, which have "strained" the department's patrol shifts.
"The decision to administratively reassign the 8 officers was not made in haste," the release added.
Mylett and other members of the Akron Police Department's leadership consulted with various community leaders and "other stakeholders" in the past few weeks. According to APD, the consensus of the conversations was that reinstating the officers would "provide needed relief and support to ensure there are no interruptions in the services" provided to the community.
Hours after Mylett's announcement, the attorneys for the Walker family, Ken Abbarno and Bobby DiCello, released a statement in response to the reinstatement of the officers. "The planning behind the decision to reinstate the police officers involved in this summer’s tragic killing of Jayland Walker is callous and ignores the Walker family’s needs for a fair process," the statement read in part.
The shooting happened in the overnight hours of June 27 amid a chase. Police say Walker had fired a shot at one point during the vehicle pursuit, but was unarmed at the time officers opened fire when the chase was continued on foot. A gun was later found in Walker's vehicle, according to police.
The Summit County Medical Examiner determined that there were 46 graze/entrance wounds to Walker's body. The toxicology screening was negative for drugs and alcohol. Roughly 90 shots were fired by the officers.
The personnel files of the officers, which were heavily redacted, were obtained by 3News after a public records request in July. Four of the eight officers have military backgrounds, while three have Bachelor's degrees. None of the eight officers had previously faced work-related discipline.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is continuing their review of the incident. Once the BCI's investigation is complete, the case will be submitted to the Summit County Grand Jury for evaluation.
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